Thursday, August 21, 2008

Business Day Thursday - Lightroom: Jet Fuel For Production & "Sharpening The Saw: Tools To Make Your Business Run Better," and Incredible Client Exper

Good Morning Everybody,
Today is gearing up to a busy one. We are trying a little different workflow here at the studio and we are excited as things are looking both promising and much more efficient. We are making Lightroom a much bigger player in it's production role. The staff loves it, and we look to cut hours off of our order post-production. Here is the quick take on what's up.

Yes, we use Lightroom to edit and prepare the images for the web - that's fine, but we don't stress about making them perfect for the web. Next, the client goes on-line and selects their favs. Currently we are using Lightroom and ProSelect for that process. I am still in the trial-and-error process of deciding which way to go and which software will be the most efficient.

Both programs have features I like and unfortunately some I don't like for the selection process. I'll keep you posted on this one. Anyway, once we have the client come into the studio and order the final images selected for their albums, our next step has been to design the albums in LumaPix:FotoFusion, enhance them in Photoshop, render the pages as Jpegs, and print. It's the "enhance them in Photoshop" step that takes the most time and has bogged down our post production.

I love the versatility and speed Lightroom brings to the production process in getting the images to about 85% of where they need to be for final approval. Our plan now is to select only ordered images and do a large part of "fine tuning" in Lightroom - color, density, contrast, vibrancy, noise reduction, vignetting, etc. Then it would require only the occasional trip over to Photoshop for retouching on any portrait.

We just gave it our first try yesterday and things went well and the final prints looked great. We are trying it again on another order today - I'll keep you posted, but things are looking good.

So, what are you reading these days? I'm reading this new book my buddy, Kent Smith just sent me. It's entitled, "The Ultimate Sales Machine" by Chet Holmes. I'm only through the first few chapters, but it's a great read. I loved the quick little story he mentioned in the second chapter. It was about two woodcutters. Woodcutter A cut wood all day without stopping. Woodcutter B keeps stopping and sitting down. At the end of the day, Woodcutter B had three times as much wood cut. Woodcutter A exclaims, "How can that be? You were sitting down for most of the day!" Woodcutter B answers, "No I wasn't, I was sharpening my saw."

Well, that little story sure hit home for me. How often do we sharpen our own saws in our businesses? How often do we look at new ways to do things? How often do we discover and then train ourselves and/or our staff to learn the latest, greatest tools, techniques, and methods for doing the job more efficiently? Too many of us get caught up in our day-to-day routines never sharpening our saws and often getting frustrated by the lack of work we get done in our businesses. Or, we find ourselves never being able to come up for air, stuck behind a computer hour after hour.

Things are changing very rapidly in these digital times, almost too fast to stay caught up with the new technologies, many of us think. This is the optimum time to sharpen our saws. Take a half hour each day to sharpen yours and give your staff the opportunity to do the same.

There are "tons" of training materials available on-line,
much of it free - just for the looking. I'm in the process, right now, of steering my staff to the best Lightroom training resources available so they can become proficient with the software. I've mentioned it before, but I think Kelby Training is the best available. Julieanne Kost's new 3 hours worth of free Lightroom training is also a good place to start [link]. Folks, there are no excuses for our failures. Failure is mostly due to our own lack of initiative - failing to sharpen our saws. End of Rant #31.

Want to create an incredible customer experience - then you have to check out this post over at one of my favorite sites, They have a must read article on the subject right here in their article, "30+ Ways to Create an Incredible Client Experience." Why is this so important? In my first podcast, I discussed how the Generation Y's want just that - an incredible customer experience. In my conversation with Kent and Sara Smith in my second podcast, they echoed the same sentiment. Give this article a read right here. It's well worth it and part of your saw sharpening Thursday.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. We are heading to Indianapolis in a few hours to hear my buddy, David Jay present his program "Free To Succeed." Then we are staying over Friday, to hear Sandy Puc present her very hot program, "Bellies and Babies." Both of these folks are top dog photographers, leaders, and trainers in our profession. I know I'll get my money's worth. I also hope to get an interview or two while we are there for an upcoming podcast. Everybody have a good one and I see you in Indy for Inspiration Friday. See ya' tomorrow, -David


  1. I am so glad that the Bellies and Babies Tour is coming to INDY, everyone seems to forget about our town for these seminars and when they occur they will sell out!

  2. David,

    Just keeping an eye on your blog has been a great way for me to keep those saw blades sharp.